Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Rich Man and Lazarus.

The rich man had a house, Lazarus didn't.

Being homeless - it's a scary prospect.

Today's Lazarus reminds me of some of my saints.  I especially think of St. Roch - because of the dogs.  Lazarus had dogs lick his sores, and St. Roch had a companion dog who licked his sores.  Dogs aided them, helped them heal.  Roch died in prison, unwilling to identify himself and claim his inheritance.

St. Benedict Joseph Labre was homeless too.  He wasn't able to be a monk, and as a layman, he was unable to hold a job.

Of course St. Alexis was homeless - much like Lazarus, living outside, only his 'shelter' was beneath his paternal home.

St. Xenia of Petersburg was homeless.  There were many homeless pilgrims in the Eastern Church.  Homelessness and faithfulness is very hard.  It is much harder than monastic life or any religious life.  The person is degraded.  The person is susceptible to many temptations, often arising from an urgent, near-panicked instinct for self-preservation.


All the talking and beautiful sayings about the virtue of poverty, all the pious reflection upon it, all the donations and charity given to alleviate it, do not assuage the fear of it, nor quell  the temptation to an almost paralyzing hopelessness when faced with it. 

Think of the many who are homeless today - and we always want to say 'through no fault of their own'.  I suppose there is some consolation in that, although it exacerbates the pain of those who have fallen or 'failed' through their own fault.  We could re-name the saints to cushion the pain.  We could say, St. Roch the irresponsible - similar to the prodigal son perhaps.  St. Benedict Joseph, the unsettled misfit, unable to hold a job.  St. Alexis, the unfaithful, the one who couldn't be married.  St. Xenia of Petersburg, the crazy, who lost everything after her husband died - perhaps even her sanity.


Think of the kids who left home - some may have found some kind of shelter on the street through prostitution, others maybe found someone to take them in and be their lover - until they were discarded for another.  Some may have found stability, a way to cope, only to meet with failure later...

What to do about the reckless, irresponsible, 'they brought it on themselves' homeless parasites?

I came across a story about a homeless family - the dad offers advice on how to cope, how to survive it.  Some readers may find it useful - or at least eye-opening.

Sjoblom Family Experience
 My name is Russell Sjoblom. My family and I were recently homeless for a few years, but have since found a place to call home. I believe that if I knew some of the things then that I know now we could have possibly prevented our homelessness. We became homeless due to an injury to myself on the job that ultimately disabled me for life and put me, the principal breadwinner, out of work. Through our experiences, we found many obstacles to overcome. Though not all were overcome, we found a way to get back up by persistence and although it was not easy at all, we DID NOT give up. Here I have written down what I feel are some of the most important things to do to try to prevent becoming homeless and even aid in recovery from homelessness.

There are things to look out for and things to do to obtain medication, food, health care, financial assistance, schooling, and housing assistance and temporary housing and shelter. We still have to deal with staying housed and as I get more information I will update this file. I hope this information will help you. Good luck and God bless. - National Coalition for the Homeless

 Conduct yourselves as pilgrims and strangers - we're all just passing through ...

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